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Japan's deliberate oblivion of history discordant with int'l Holocaust remembrance

When other parts of the world were resonating on Monday with retrospection and remembrance of the Nazi Holocaust, Asia is still afflicted by the dissonant denial of Japan's wartime ferocity by some Japanese politicians.

From Europe to America, from Britain to Germany, government leaders, Holocaust survivors and veterans gather on Jan. 27, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, every year for solemn ceremonies, where they repeat stories of Nazi's genocide of 6 million Jews and countless others, and honor the wisdom, courage and sense of justice that people once extended to prevent that horror.

Ironically, such sound of historical reflection is too insignificant to hear in Japan, also a massacre perpetrator that killed countless innocent Asian civilians when Japan invaded other countries in 1930s and 1940s.

Sincere remorse of and apology for the country's war crimes have likely become a headache for Tokyo, which has long carried a grudge against its loss of glory in World War II, and submission to the post-war constraint on its military and political muscle that the international society imposed.

Further catering to the domestic rightist forces, political speculators of the island country have shown an intensifying trend to dismiss its war-time history forever, unwilling to let these atrocities disgrace Tokyo's self-portrayal as a peace-loving player on the world stage.

However, Japan failed to honor the words with actions, as its prime minister Shinzo Abe visited last month the Yasukumi Shrine that honors 14 class-A war criminals, knowing that will trigger strong protests from neighboring countries and incite regional instability.

Tokyo has further irritated its neighbors and even U.S. allies, by attempting to downplay its notorious Fascist history, revise a pacifist constitution that makes overseas deployment of soldiers possible, and amend textbooks in a bid to whitewash its wartime past.

More worrisome is that these dangerous provocations have gotten increasing support from the Japanese political and media circles, as shown by the recent remarks of Katsuto Momii, new head of Japanese international broadcaster NHK, who said that it is "strange" to mention Japan's wartime violence, as the country has "compensated" the victims with money in 1960s.

Some voice in and out of Japan said that let the bygones be bygones, and Asian countries like China and South Korea should blindly take Japan as a reliable partner. But, oblivion of history is intolerable to Holocaust survivors and victimized Asian countries, and Japan's apology for innumerable sufferings it inflicted should always be a prerequisite for normalizing relations with its neighboring countries.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Asia to receive such an apologetic statement from the Japanese leadership.

Japan is expected to know that forgiveness is based on its repentance of war crimes. Any attempt of manipulation and oblivion of history is and will always be unacceptable for the Asian countries as well as the Japanese people.

[Source: By Zhu Dongyang, Xinhua, Beijing, 28Jan14]

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small logoThis document has been published on 31Jan14 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.